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The Cold War is among the historical political rivalries that have significantly influenced the current power relations and balances between the world’s superpower countries. The decades-long competition over supremacy between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II was unlike other conflicts involving physical altercations and combat (Brands, 2022). Instead, the Cold War was more of an ideological competition and need for political control between the two countries pursued through military coalitions, propaganda, political maneuvering, espionage, and proxy wars between other nations that were rivals or allies of the two sides. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact marked the end of the Cold War in 1991, established an open relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, removed the economic restrictions on the Soviet Union that prevented the implementation of instituted economic reforms, and the eventual separation of the countries that formed the union (Brands, 2022). However, although the end of the Cold War is believed to have resulted in more economic stability in the world and global peace due to reduced political tensions, there are questions regarding what could have happened had the Soviet Union won the war. If the Soviet Union had won the Cold War, the Soviet economy and Communism would have grown quickly, outpacing NATO and other democratic countries at the forefront of global political and economic instabilities.
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Growth of the Soviet Economy and World Control
The Soviet Union winning the Cold War would immediately impact the overall structure of the societies under the union, giving them the power to expand economically and control resources. Considering that the Cold War was a conflict and competition over supremacy and political control, winning would give the Russians the leverage and power that would allow them to amass wealth and develop economic structures that would empower them to dominate the world, especially economically and socially (Brands, 2022). Additionally, considering that the attributes of socialism defined the economic structures in the Soviet Union, the economic growth of the society would mean that the rest of the world would have to adapt the same economic systems to fit in with the global superpower.
Additionally, the economic expansion of the Soviet Union would mean outcompeting the capitalist countries and using its influence to control the other nations’ social, political, and economic aspects. Specifically, the Soviet Union would continue to spread socialist economic ideas and support revolutionaries worldwide that were involved in fighting capitalism. The long-term impact of the support would be a change in economic hierarchies and the redistribution of wealth following the collapse of capitalist structures that have dominated the current global superpower countries (Engelhardt, 2007). Furthermore, the economic success of the Russians would indirectly sabotage other superpower societies that would be more invested in building military might and influence to fight the socialists, which would likely lead to the collapse of major economic institutions. Therefore, the Soviet Union winning the cold war would not only enable economic growth for them but also lead to the collapse of capitalist economies that would be fighting to maintain stability against a lethal enemy.
Spread of Communism
Moreover, the Soviet Union winning the Cold Moreover, the Soviet Union winning the Cold War would mean an amplified spread of communism and an extensive change in the social, economic, and political structures of almost all global societies. As a society that was significantly dominated by the ideas and values associated with communism, winning the Cold War would give the Soviet Union more power and resources to spread communist ideas and bring more countries under a pact (Priestland, 2016). The impact of communism spreading in Europe and other parts of the world would be the isolation of capitalist societies such as the United States and select nations in Europe. However, the spread of communism would not be an isolated event; the opposing countries defined by capitalism would likely fight back. As such, there would be heavy and extreme disagreement between the ideologies. While the Soviets would be spreading communist ideas, the anti-communist countries would be working to stop it. There would be pro-democracy campaigns and rigorous lobbying for the people in these societies to fight against communism (Holmes, 2009). Similarly likely, the Soviets and their allies would also try to increase their influence in the pro-democratic countries. If unchecked, the competition would likely lead to amplified conflicts not only within countries but also internationally, thus affecting the overall stability of the world.
Although it would be doubtful for the Soviet Union to win the Cold War considering the consolidated might of NATO and their allies, their success would significantly change the world order and the interactions between countries. Primarily, winning the Cold War would give the Soviets power, influence, and the potential to expand economically. Their power would destabilize their rival capitalist societies, which would likely fight to sustain their economic structures. There would be alliance splits because some countries could not combat socialist economic ideas and would be forced to join the Soviets. Moreover, the win would give the Soviets opportunities to spread communism and amass international influence among other countries and global societies. However, the move would likely lead to more conflicts as the pro-democratic nations would also look for ways to control communism. Therefore, as much as it would be difficult for the Soviet Union to win the Cold War, the opposite outcome would bring more instability to the world at the expense of the Soviets, who would enjoy power and control over global social, political, and economic sectors.
- Brands, H. (2022). The twilight struggle: What the Cold War teaches us about great-power rivalry today. Yale University Press.
- Engelhardt, T. (2007). The end of victory culture: Cold War America and the disillusioning of a generation. University of Massachusetts Press.
- Holmes, L. (2009). Communism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.
- Priestland, D. (2016). The red flag: A history of communism. Open Road + Grove/Atlantic.